Huffy Henry hid the day, unappeasable Henry sulked. I see his point,—a trying to put things over. It was the thought that they thought they could do it made Henry wicked & away. But he should have come out and talked. All the world like a woolen lover once did seem on Henry's
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Sometimes I dream of a slave ship docking at port
& my grandmother has brought me here. She takes my hand
(in the dream I am very young) as we watch the children
disembark. The children are lithe & descend one after
another after another—squinting, lifting their hands
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt Of Africa. Kikuyu, quick as flies, Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt. Corpses are scattered through a paradise. Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries: "Waste no compassion on these separate dead!" Statistics justify and scholars seize The salients
The dominant figure in modern poetry from the 1920s through the middle of the century, in part because of his stature as a critic and publisher, was the poet T. S. Eliot. In his landmark essay, "Tradition and the Individual Talent," (1919) Eliot defined poetry as an escape from emotion and personality—a definition that subsequent American poets have alternately embraced, argued with, and denounced in such a vigorous fashion that it may be useful to consider it as a linchpin of modernism.
True poetry, according to the poet and critic John Crowe Ransom, "only wants to see the world, to see it better." Poetry, he believed, is a superior form of knowledge which gives us the fullness of human experience, not just the facts and abstractions that suffice for knowledge in a scientific age. Ransom was the leading light of the Fugitives, a group of Southern Agrarian poets and critics formed at Vanderbilt University in the 1920s, who were distinctly at odds with northern
From the Italian sonetto, which means "a little sound or song," the sonnet is a popular classical form that has compelled poets for centuries. Traditionally, the sonnet is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter, which employ one of several rhyme schemes and adhere to a tightly structured thematic organization. Two sonnet forms provide the models from which all other sonnets are formed: the Petrachan and the Shakespearean.
The first and most common sonnet is the Petrarchan, or Italian. Named after one of its greatest practitioners, the Italian poet Petrarch, the Petrarchan sonnet is divided into two stanzas, the octave (the first eight lines) followed by the answering sestet (the final six lines). The tightly woven rhyme scheme, abba, abba, cdecde or cdcdcd, is suited for the rhyme-rich Italian language, though there are many fine examples in English. Since the Petrarchan presents an argument, observation, question, or some other answerable
In April 2014 A Poet’s Glossary by Academy Chancellor Edward Hirsch was published. As Hirsch writes in the preface, “this book—one person’s work, a poet’s glossary—has grown, as if naturally, out of my lifelong interest in poetry, my curiosity about its vocabulary, its forms and genres, its histories and traditions, its classical, romantic, and modern movements, its various outlying groups, its small devices and large mysteries—how it works.” Each week we will feature a term and its definition from Hirsch’s new book.
couplet The couplet, two successive lines of poetry, usually rhymed (aa), has been an elemental stanzaic unit—a couple, a pairing—as long as there has been written rhyming poetry in English. It can stand as an epigrammatic poem on its own, a weapon for aphoristic wit, as in Pope’s “Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog which I gave to his Royal Highness” (1734):
I am his Highness’ Dog at Kew;
Pray tell me Sir, whose Dog are you?